Hal Steinbrenner said today that the Yankees plan to decrease their payroll to below the $189 million luxury tax figure by 2014, which is when the new collective bargaining agreement threshold kicks in.
Steinbrenner called it “streamlining” the payroll, which is currently at around $210 million.
Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York notes that Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira are already under contract for $75 million in 2014, which would leave about $110 million for Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and 19 other players.
Obviously a $189 million payroll is still massive, even looking ahead to 2014, but the Yankees’ payroll hasn’t been below $200 million since 2007, when it was $190 million. Since then their annual payrolls have been $209 million, $201 million, $206 million, $203 million, and now $210 million.
Toss in the usual inflation of player salaries and $189 million in 2014 would represent a pretty significant change.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.